“Have you tried exercising?”
As someone with chronic pain, I’ve heard this question many times before. So many of us sufferers have. So, you can imagine the surprise (and anger) when the chronic pain community learnt that this query is now being actively endorsed by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).
Last Wednesday, NICE announced its new recommendations for tackling primary chronic pain – namely, pain lasting longer than three months without a known cause. Steering away from offering pain medication, emphasis will now go into promoting exercise programmes, CBT and acceptance therapy. Endorsing the shift, Dr Paul Chrisp, director of Nice’s centre for guidelines, told The Guardian, “Based on the evidence, for most people it’s unlikely that any drug treatments for chronic primary pain, other than antidepressants, provide an adequate balance between any benefits they might provide, and the risks associated with them.”
For those who actually suffer from chronic pain without a known cause, however, this approach has been met with condemnation, fear and fury.
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